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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

THE END                                    335

son in July, she remained a powerful influence in favour of the men of
Yuanyu until she died in January of the following year. As long as she
was living, the exiled scholars were pardoned and either promoted or at
kast granted complete freedom of movement. Apparently the wife of
Shentsung, like her mother-in-law, had a surer instinct for what was
'good for the country than her sons, and in simple feminine wisdom
was a better judge of men. Critics and historians, lost in their fine
phrases and abstract distinctions and deep in the research of problems
and policies of a period, sometimes forget that in the ultimate judgment
of men we cannot escape the simple adjectives of "good" and "bad".
After all, the phrase "a good man" is one of the highest tributes a man
can aspire to have when the time comes for summing up his career
and character. The empresses whom Su Tungpo served never seemed
to be very much involved in the problems and policies of the govern-
ment leaders. Certainly Chang Chun was a man of great strength and
determination. Huiching was an eloquent speaker. Tsai Ching had
great energy and ability. But the Empress Dowager now simply
summed them up as bad men.

In May, the one carefree soul of his time, Wu Fuku, turned up again
to bring Su Tungpo the first news of his pardon and transfer to a
district west of the Luichow Peninsula just across the sea. The news
was soon confirmed by a letter from Chin Kuan, who had been con-
fined at Luichow and had just received a pardon himself.

From now on, Su Tungpo was again to follow a wandering course.
After his voyage to Lienchow across the sea, and just one month after
his arrival there, he received orders to go and live at Yungchow, which
is modern Lingling in Hunan. After four months of futile changes of
route on his journey in order to reach Yungchow, and while still half-,
way to his second appointed place, he finally received permission to live
wherever he chose. If he had been granted freedom of residence in the
first instance, the two Su brothers could have met very easily at Canton
and gone on north together. Tseyu had received his transfer to a
district on Tungting Lake in Hunan. Since at that time Su Tungpo
was only transferred to the coast opposite Hainan, quite far away from
Canton, Tseyu had left immediately for the north with his family, who
had been staying at Tungpo's house in Huichow. After he had arrived
in the neighbourhood of Hankow, on the way to his destination lie
was promoted in rank and given freedom of movement; he returned to
Yingchang, where he had a farm and where his other children were
living.

Unlike Tseyu, Tungpo took a long time to leave Hainan. He was
waiting for one of those big Fukien ships to cross the sea, but after wait-
ing in vain, he left with Wu Fuku, Kuo, and his dog, Black Snout.
The party went up to Luichow to see Chin Kuan, and then Wu Fuku